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April 1st Show

Why aren't there more new jobs? The answer could be productivity. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke suggests the people who have jobs might just be working too hard. In our second hour, listeners talk about how they are handling added job responsibilities in a middling economy. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Reducing The National Debt
America's debt is over $12 trillion. That's the total amount the U.S. government has borrowed so far to pay for everything from entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, to federal pensions and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Basically, the government spends more than it earns and that trend is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. NPR news analyst Ted Koppel and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, who heads a panel tasked to come up with strategies to bring down the national debt, talk about how to reduce the debt, and who's going to pay for it.

When To Give Up On a Book
Many of us pride ourselves on being well read, especially when it comes to the classics and bestsellers like Moby Dick, War and Peace, and The Odyssey. But at times, for one reason or another, we get to that point where we can't bring ourselves to finish a book. Chicago Tribune culture critic Julia Keller talks about when to give up on a book, and our struggles to return to the works we've never finished.

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Productivity In A Recession
Whether you lost your job or still have one, chances are the past two years have been a test of job market endurance. More than a million people have lost their jobs, and those that stayed in the workforce have felt the brunt of their absence. Yet, productivity levels have increased. Workers are being asked to do more with less and some people feel over-worked, burned out or stuck. Others, however, are breathing a sigh of relief to have a job. We'll hear about your experience in the workforce amid a middling economy.

Broadband For America
Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski lays out the National Broadband Plan for America, which is expected to bring high speed internet access to all Americans.

Thirty Days Hath September?
Across the country, school districts have decided to cut costs by shortening the school year. It seems the federal government will follow suit by enacting what some critics are calling a "very foolish" gimmick. In the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 there is apparently language that will shorten every month of the calendar year by one day. NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner talks about the provision, which goes in to effect today. And Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, a surprising supporter of the change, explains why he floated the idea in a white paper months ago.